Information on the hygiene concept, work travel and excursions

Email from the President to university employees

Dear colleagues,

For several weeks now we have seen a decrease in the number of infections with the novel coronavirus to a very low level nationwide. A "new normality" is returning in many places. Nevertheless, it would be careless to believe that the danger has been averted and the virus has disappeared. We are all well-advised to remain on our guard. Our medical experts assume that the pathogen will continue to be with us for months to come. It will therefore be necessary to observe simple protective measures until further notice. These still include keeping a safe distance of two meters, adequate airing, good hand hygiene and, in some places, wearing a mouth-nose cover. 

Hygiene concept

The University has drafted a comprehensive hygiene concept that serves to protect the health of all employees in their professional activities under the conditions of the pandemic. The concept deals with numerous topics of everyday university life, such as workplace arrangement, the organization of excursions or on-campus examinations as well as general hygiene regulations. In the coming months, the concept will be continuously updated and adapted to the changing conditions. The hygiene concept has been published (subject to the approval of the staff council) on the university homepage, where it can be downloaded in its current version: https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/university/information-on-the-corona-virus/ 

Meetings at the University

On 10 June, the state government has published a new corona edict. According to this new regulation, assemblies of up to 20 people are now permitted at universities. This covers meetings of all kinds, such as briefings and conferences, committee meetings, but not lectures/classes. On-campus classes are still to be approved individually by the president’s office or authorized bodies of the faculties, cf. the information in Part E of the hygiene concept. For events with up to 20 participants, however, it is still mandatory to maintain a safe distance of two meters between those present and to keep to the above-mentioned protective measures. For meetings in closed rooms, good airing must also be ensured. Furthermore, on-campus teaching - apart from justified exceptions - will continue to be suspended until 30 September 2020.

Work travel and excursions

Work travel abroad continues to be permissible for urgent work reasons only. The Foreign Office has extended its worldwide travel warning until 31 August, although a large number of European states have been exempted from this warning. The quarantine regulations for persons entering and returning to Germany have also been eased considerably. Nevertheless, the numbers of COVID-19 infections remain high in many countries around the world with corresponding problems in the respective local health care systems.

University employees planning work travel are therefore requested to discuss the matter with their superior in advance. She or he will decide on the degree of urgency, erring on the side of caution. Work travel may only be approved if the risks of illness or of problems with the outward or return journey appear manageable due to the respective conditions at the destination and en route. Furthermore, it must be taken into account that local conditions may change, depending on the duration of the stay. In this context, the person applying for work travel must check whether travelers returning from the respective country are in danger of having to enter quarantine for 14 days.

Currently (16 June 2020), travellers entering or returning from most European countries are exempt from quarantine. Please note, however, that the quarantine obligation can be imposed again by the health authorities at short notice on those entering or returning from countries particularly affected by the pandemic. Furthermore, the quarantine obligation continues to apply without any restrictions to all persons entering Germany who show symptoms of a COVID-19 infection. For further information, please refer to the webpage of Internal Services and Organization. https://uni-tuebingen.de/en/174039

The requirements mentioned above also apply to excursions. For the approval and implementation of excursions at home and abroad, additional requirements apply that are specified in the University's hygiene concept for the COVID-19 pandemic. For field trips abroad, you must also consider the requirements of the country of destination at the planning stage already.

The pandemic remains a challenge for all of us. If we want to master it together, it will be important to act sensibly and perceptively in the coming months. We must ensure a high level of protection against infection in the long term and yet return to everyday university life. Everyone can contribute to this goal. Please do your bit!

Professor Dr. Bernd Engler